Potential connection found between Alzheimer’s progression, tau pathology
In the first analysis, evidence indicated that the amount of tau tangles rose in 18 months. This coincided with the ongoing cognitive decline for patients who tested beta-amyloid positive.
In addition, patients who had more baseline tau grew increased tau much faster, showing that Alzheimer’s disease speeds while it progresses.
"These data are exciting because they suggest new insights into the relationships between tau deposits and the progression of Alzheimer's disease," Dr. Mark Mintun, chief medical officer of Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lilly, said. "We hope these results can help guide future studies to further our understanding of the mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease and speed the development of treatments."
In the second analysis, evidence showed a connection between the tau’s location and the cognitive decline patients experienced.
"This is the first time an analysis has shown a correlation between tau tangles and cognitive decline in patients living with Alzheimer's disease," Dr. Michael Devous, vice president of Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, said. "As tau pathology is considered a biomarker of cognitive decline, understanding the patterns in the tau signal specific to Alzheimer's disease might be useful in predicting disease progression."
Scientists presented their research at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2016.